Paul Crowley 90' -
Barry Murphy proved he was no April Fool, saving the day for Bohemians with a last minute penalty save against St. Patrick's Athletic in Richmond Park on Friday.In what was at times a poor showing, neither side were fully deserved of anything less than a point. St. Pat’s were in complete control in terms of possession throughout the 90 minutes, although they could not convert this possession into goals in what is potentially Pat Fenlon’s final game in charge for the Gypsies.
The opening half was dominated by the home side, although they failed to convert dominance into goals. A packed Richmond Park had to wait almost 20 minutes for the first real chance, when Derek Doyle weaved his way in to the box before unleashing a shot that had Bohemians goal keeper Barry Murphy scrambling to palm it away to safety.
A worrying sign for Pat Fenlon’s outfit came when the much experienced Ollie Cahill was forced off due to an injury half way through the first half. Paul Crowley tried his best to deepen these worries, when he was allowed acres of space to run at the Gypsies defence. The midfielder managed to unleash a shot that deflected off Danny North. This changed the path of the ball, although Murphy still had plenty of time to smother the effort.
St. Pat’s continued to dominate in most areas of the field, although the lack of quality in the final third was frustrating both sets of fans. North had another decent chance, getting under Stephen Bradley’s free. The header just glided over the bar, adding further weight of the pressure on Liam Burns and Aidan Price.
As half time approached, neither team had played in any way near their full potential. The tactics employed by Fenlon and John Gill in the respective dugouts mirrored each other. The strikers were isolated, the midfielders were actively searching for the ball that was rarely on, and the defenders always looked comfortable with clearing the threat. To think creatively was a characteristic each side would need to employ in order to make the second half a more entertaining spectacle.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half was more of the same from the respective outfits. The final ball was found wanting time after time. It was St. Pat’s who were controlling the majority share of possession, with Bohemians just hoping for the counter attack. North and David McMillan were struggling to find the space to latch on to the countless balls sent their way.
With the gaps beginning to open up in the respective defensive lines, the chances began to offer themselves. Firstly, with 75 minutes played, David McMillan watched his volleyed effort narrowly miss the goal. Mark Rossiter almost immediately replied when his shot from outside the box had Gary Rogers diving to the corner, as it trickled by the post and wide.
The desperation was beginning to show, as both sides sought after the elusive goal, one that would surely ensure the full three points. With the ball in the box, Anto Flood went down in the box under no apparent challenge. The referee felt it necessary to book the striker for diving.
St. Pat’s were in such control of the tie, it beggars belief the lack of genuine scoring chances they created throughout the 90 minutes. They were offered one final life line when substitute Shane McFaul was tripped in the box by Ger O’Brien. The midfielder was shown a straight card by Richie Winters, although he appeared to make a mistake and showed the player a yellow instead. Crowley stepped up to strike a decent effort, although Murphy chose the right way to dive and made a spectacular save in front of his home fans, and indeed the T.V. cameras.
And so the game finished in a stalemate. St. Pat’s will certainly see this as two points dropped, as they utterly dominated every area of the park. Following on from their dramatic victory last week, Pete Mahon’s men were unable to find the net. For Bohemians, and Pat Fenlon, it was an impressive showing of grit and determination to grind out a tough draw. Whether it is Pat Fenlon’s last game or not wasn’t the topic for discussion tonight. Instead the football told a story, one of canny tactics, dogged defending and chances gone a begging.
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Gary Rogers; Derek Pender, Ian Bermingham, David Mulcahy, Evan McMillan; Stephen Bradley (Shane McFaul 81), Paul Crowley, Anthony Murphy, Derek Doyle; David McMillan, Daniel North (Ian Daly 71).
Subs not used: Chris Bennion, Daryl Kavanagh, James O’Brien, John Flood, Neil Harney.
Bookings: D Pender (61).
Bohemians: Barry Murphy; Owen Heary, Liam Burns, Aidan Price, Ollie Cahill (Lee Dixon 23 (Gary Burke 45)); Mark Rossiter, Robert Bayly, Ger O’Brien, Stephen Traynor, Killian Brennan (Keith Buckley, 50); Anto Flood.
Subs not used: Danny Joyce, Kevin Feely, David Lodola, Craig Sexton.
Bookings: A Flood (81), G O'Brien (89).
Referee: Richie Winter.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Barry Murphy - playing on through an injury and making that spectacular save.